Gilbert-based CampusLogic is part of a robust network of “Ed Tech” firms in Arizona. Its software breakthrough earned it the top award at last month’s Venture Madness, a business pitch competition bringing together the Southwest’s startup community in a contest for $55,000 in cash prizes to help their businesses grow.
The idea of CampusLogic is to save time and money for colleges and universities. It also spares students and parents from headaches by guiding them through the financial-aid process with mobile-friendly uploads and 24/7 access to complete verification from any device.
“We found that students often spend up to 15 hours a year messing around with their financial aid and it should be 15 minutes, not 15 hours,” said CampusLogic CEO and Founder Gregg Scoresby.
CampusLogic is just one part of an Ed Tech boom in Arizona. Scoresby said he likes being located in the East Valley, in part, because of the qualified workforce and the presence of other software companies, such as Mesa-based Edupoint and Scottsdale-based Parchment, a leading academic credentials management company. Those firms join large educational companies, such as Apollo Education Group and Pearson that are part of this growing community.
Also, the top Ed Tech conference in the country, the ASU+GSV Summit, takes place every year in the Valley. This year’s gathering (April 6-8) will be at The Phoenician. Forbes calls it the “can’t-miss education innovation event.”
“There is something really special going on in Arizona around education technology,” he said.
Scoresby, an Arizona native, said part of his inspiration for CampusLogic came from his own experience struggling through the financial aid process in graduate school. “I wanted to poke my eyes out” after going through it, he said. “The people are nice but the process is terrible,” he added.
He went to work after graduate school and ended up managing a center that outsourced financial aid for the University of Phoenix. Fast forward to 2011, when Scoresby had his own company doing similar work and realized the process was still like navigating the tax code before TurboTax existed—an unforgiving slog. So out of all those experiences came the idea behind CampusLogic.
The need for such simplification seems to be almost limitless. With $1.2 trillion worth of student debt in the U.S. and $250 billion in financial aid awarded each year from 6,000-plus schools, it makes sense that those who are saddling debt on their backs understand what they are doing. Right now that’s not the case, as 60 percent of parents and students do not understand what’s being awarded and how much they’ll have to pay per month after they graduate.
"That’s really tragic,” said Scoresby. “Other than a mortgage, we’re asking people to make the largest financial decision they make in their life and there is massive confusion around that. That’s not right and that shouldn’t happen.”
CampusLogic sells its software to schools (not students) across the U.S. Those schools pay an annual subscription fee to the company, which recently announced it signed up six new schools to use its software, upping its roster total to 20.
Scoresby said there’s a massive amount of over-borrowing in today’s financial aid system. “There’s about $200 billion of aid that’s delinquent right now and this is a saddle on the back of Americans,” he said. “We need to help students borrow less and understand what they’re borrowing and understand the process, and our application does that.”
And they’re seeing results. Application completion rates are ticking up among the schools they serve, Scoresby said. That’s important because it means schools get access to a much higher number of students.
One of the top reasons students drop out, he said, is because of financial concerns and part of that is not knowing how they’re going to pay for college.
“Financial aid is very complex,” Scoresby said. “Everyone’s got a story about the complexity of financial aid experience, about how frustrating and hard it is. That’s where we come in.”
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